Expanding into Floors With Help from the Pros
28 March, 2019
28 March, 2019
By Megan Headley
After Martinson Painting completed an exterior repaint of Mullinax Ford, the manager asked the painters to try something new: floors.
Adding a new service line can be a tricky endeavor for a painting contractor, particularly when that new service involves floor coatings. So when Martinson Painting in Edgewood, Wash., was approached about expanding a commercial repaint project to include 10,000 square feet of floor coating, management knew that they’d get the best results from pulling in a few consultants.
Trying Something New
The Martinson Painting team was providing both interior and exterior painting for Mullinax Ford of Olympia, Washington, when general manager Kevin Neiseanger approached Martinson project manager Rob Leonard with a proposal: to refinish flooring throughout the tire and parts area as well as the entire service area where the dealership maintains vehicles.
Leonard had been wanting to expand beyond the small floors the company had done in the past, but 10,000 square feet is a large area to jump into. So after agreeing to take on the work, Leonard and company president Jeremy Martinson reached out to their Rodda sales rep, Nathan McCormick, and Arizona Polymer rep, Mark Haen, to turn the project into an on-site training opportunity.
“It’s hard to get a big group of paint reps who put their paint clothes on and get to work,” Martinson says. But the Rodda and Arizona Polymer reps were on the floor every step of the way, taking a 6-man crew up to 9.
The job became an opportunity to learn technique, meet new equipment providers, and build out pricing for the new service offering. As Martinson put it, “We learned how to get it done and actually make a profit on it all at the same time.”
All told, the flooring alone would add $51,400 in sales—making it a service offering more than worth doing right the first time.
The floor had to be cleaned of 50 years of coatings and grime.
A Sense of Scope
The dealership floor had layers of finishing on it dating back 50 years that had to be ground off. Because Martinson Painting didn’t have the equipment, they connected with a local company and subcontracted out the diamond grinding.
Once the floor was ground down, cracks, old patches and porous concrete became clearly visible. In particular, the team realized that in the service area around the lifts, the concrete didn’t match.
“They had done some patchwork around there previously,” Leonard noted. “When grinding it down, one concern we had was keeping that consistent with the rest of the floor. We had to do quite a bit of patching throughout that area.”
Areas around the lifts revealed mismatched concrete patches.
The team used PolySpec’s RezRock epoxy patching compound to fill in cracks, before sanding and then thoroughly cleaning the floor. Once the crew was satisfied with the prep work, they applied five coats of products. The first coat was Arizona Polymer Flooring’s VaporSolve primer, followed by VaporSolve 100 and an epoxy 400 pigmented base coat. Finally, per the client’s request, they applied two coats of pigmented polyurethane 100 with an additive to reduce slips on the floor.
“We did two of the final clear coats because of the original porousness of the concrete,” Martinson explains. “We wanted to get it really, really smooth, shiny and even.”
Between each product application, the crew continued to address stubborn cracks, then followed with sanding and thorough cleaning to remove any residue.
“For each coat we had to wait 24 hours,” Leonard says. “So we would do our prep, clean up from the day before, vacuum and then coat the floor. That was done in 8- to 10-hour shifts. Then we’d leave, come back the next morning go again with the next coat.” From grinding to finish, the job took 250 man-hours to complete.
After prep, the team applied five coats of products.
Acing the Learning Curve
For the most part, the crews followed fairly standard processes in squeegeeing product out to get it nice and even. But the crews benefited from having their reps onsite.
“One of the main things our Rodda rep stressed was keeping one person mixing everything,” Leonard said. “That guy has to be there every day to keep product consistency in the mixing process.”
The team began by applying Arizona Polymer Flooring’s VaporSolve primer, followed by VaporSolve 100.
In addition to having a point person on mixing products, the crew also included a dedicated runner retrieving product due to the short shelf life of the epoxy. The remainder of the crew was responsible for squeegeeing out product, and then finishing layers with rollers to even the coating out.
“We had two Arizona Polymer reps and our Rodda rep, and they all had their work clothes on,” Martinson notes. “During this time they were training us: making sure we let product sit long enough before we started applying it, showing us technique, etc. Some of us had experience in it, some of us did not, so we were all doing onboard training.”
The client requested a topcoat with an additive that would reduce slips.
For management, that training included tracking how to process each step: how many hours each step took, the spread rate for product, the dollar amount per coat. “We were able to document all of that and actually build out a price sheet for doing floors,” Martinson explains.
All told, the project ran for a full seven days. The condition of the concrete and the addition of a second coat of polyurethane added a day and a half to the projected timeline. The crew responded by coming in over the weekend to make sure the final project met the scope. “The guys all came together to get it done,” Leonard shares. And the result left the client satisfied— and ready to spec new projects.
Two final clear coats helped cover the original porousness of the concrete and achieved a shiny even finish.
Megan Headley is the managing editor of APC magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.